In A Nutshell: It was business as usual for Kevin Harvick Saturday afternoon; he scored his seventh Busch Series win of the season at Kansas Speedway, and once again, he found his way to Victory Lane even without the fastest car. Matt Kenseth dominated the day, but a slow pit stop under caution on lap 165 cost him the top spot, losing him an advantage he could never get back. Kyle Busch took only two tires on that same stop and came out with the lead, but Harvick took advantage of Kenseth’s mistakes and came out in second with four fresh tires. That would prove to be the difference, as after two more caution flags, Harvick got by Busch on lap 185 and never looked back. Several more late cautions broke up the last few laps, making it difficult for his closest challengers as the No. 21 cruised to the win. Kenseth eventually got by Busch, but fell short in his bid to run down Harvick and had to settle for second. Busch’s worn tires brought him home third, followed by Tony Stewart and Clint Bowyer to round out the top five.
Who Should Have Won: Kenseth. Sitting on the pole and leading 145 of 200 laps is usually just the start of an excellent weekend, but somehow, Kenseth came up short. It all fell apart in the race’s final segment; Kenseth pitted under caution on lap 165 with the rest of the field, but a problem on the right-rear tire slowed his stop and opened the door for Harvick, and that’s been the end of more than one competitor this season. If you give Harvick just that little bit of room, he has shown more than once that he can push the door wide open and waltz right through it… and that’s what he did here.
Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) How did Jay Sauter ever roll off the starting grid without a right side window?
Somewhere around lap 15, Sauter was black-flagged for the missing window, prompting some to wonder why there was no caution to retrieve it from the racetrack, where it surely had to be. Well, there was no caution… because there never was a window. Sauter simply started the race without it on a track where it is required; in fact, such a thing is required everywhere this series goes. Now, seas of blue-and-white clad officials can be seen on pit road every week in addition to those who are supposed to be doing pre-race inspections… how did this car ever get past them, let alone Sauter and his crew?
2) Was there a visibility issue on the track?
After a spin that left him sitting near the wall, Denny Hamlin got it going and attempted to get back down the track and in the right direction. In the process, he drove down the track and directly into the side of the No. 49 of Jennifer Jo Cobb, spinning her out. How could Hamlin and his spotter both not see her coming? To add insult to injury, when Cobb attempted to get going, she almost drove into a track safety truck, which was on the scene by the time she started her car.
3) Is the points battle in the Busch Series still exciting?
Yes. Harvick has run off and left everyone in his wake, but there are still things of interest in the Busch Series points standings. After all, there is the question of exactly how large Harvick’s final margin will be, for one thing. There are also positions still changing around behind the leader, and the question of where the Busch Series regulars will finish in the standings (Paul Menard sits highest in sixth place).
Worth Noting/Points Shuffle
Let’s all give the Busch Series field a big hand! Jerry Robertson spun in front of basically all of them, slid across the racetrack right through the middle of a huge pack of cars… and managed to get hit by, well, nobody. Whether it was just incredible luck or tremendous talent on the part of the drivers, it was amazing to watch.
The top finishing Busch Series regular at Kansas was Menard in 10th place. Raybestos Rookie of the Race honors went to Stephen Leicht with a 12th-place run.
Meanwhile, Harvick needs to keep racking up those wins so he can continue to pad that point lead. Right now, it stands at a mere 729 points over second-place Carl Edwards. Bowyer moves up to third, while Hamlin slides back to fourth after his crash. JJ Yeley continues to round out the top five.
Behind Yeley, Busch improved one spot to sixth, while Menard fell to seventh and Greg Biffle remains eighth. Reed Sorenson passed Johnny Sauter to take ninth place in the standings, while Sauter slipped back one spot to 10th.
Buschwhackers in this race: 13
Starting spots taken by Buschwhackers YTD: 427 of 1,298
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10: 9
Buschwhackers finishing in Top 10 YTD: 222 of 300
Races won by Buschwhackers YTD: 28 of 30
Buschwhackers ranked in Top 10 in Busch Series points standings: 8
“There were like three or four wrecks right there in front of us that we were sweating to get through. And the one with the No. 99 coming off of [turn] 4, I don’t know if I took the air off his spoiler or what. I thought I was far enough back that I wasn’t going to and he started going around and I wasn’t sure [where] he was going. It was lucky that I missed that one. It was an awesome weekend and the guys did a great job.” – Stephen Leicht
“In that last green-white-checkered there somebody spun out in front of me, checked up and there was just nowhere to go. Somebody got into the back of me and I got knocked around into the fence there. We were lucky enough to get some tires back on it and just ride the last three laps there and only lose four or five spots. I guess in a way we were unlucky, but I guess in a way, considering how bad the car is, we were pretty lucky we finished.” – Danny O’Quinn
“I thought we probably had the best car overall all day. Kevin [Harvick] was a little better on long runs, it seemed like, when he ran on top he would catch me a little bit, but for 20 or 30 laps we could get away pretty good… [just] got behind a little bit that last pit stop. It was only one car, but with all of them short runs and all of them cautions at the end, we just couldn’t get back around Kevin.” – Matt Kenseth
Next Up: The Busch Series will take a week off before returning to action for some Friday night fun at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. The Dollar General 300 can be seen on Friday, Oct. 13th beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET on TNT.